Ghosting

For reasons I cannot quite fathom I have been feeling really tired this past week. Maybe the juggling of three and more projects is catching up with me. I have a list of things I need to attend to today, but I kept slapping the ‘Snooze’ on the alarm. I felt completely flat and out of inspiration for poetry practice. So I was lazily looking at my email, Facebook and finally Twitter. I generally just check in once daily there, but as soon as I opened it there was a post in the feed with a poetry prompt from @UrbanWordNYC…”write a poem addressing how death is the original form of ghosting.” So okay. I have my assignment for the Poetry Daily! Serendipity saves the day! I may have more personal experience of ghosts than social media ghosting, but I can work the metaphor…

Ghosting

Everyone leaves.
At some point I will, too.
I am of an age now -
the autumn of life -
when friends are dropping
from their perches in the trees.

Long dead friends resurrect
in Facebook memories,
speaking from some separate realm,
saying how much they are looking forward
to seeing me soon.

I have no such plans.
Shudder just thinking it.
I ignore them! She is safely dead.
I am alive and reasonably fit.
Getting on with my life
just fine without her presence.

Except absence never grows old,
or disappears. Death has its own half-life
radiating from some pit
just above your diaphragm.
Damn!

Everyone leaves!
Consider this just a dress rehearsal
in your role of ghost.
It's a practice run
for the really big griefs.

Face it. Every life is lived
by losers.
First its a phone, then house keys.
The BFF. A spouse or three.
Mum. Dad.
They just pile up, those losses,
littering the back of the closet.

It's a regular Halloween party in there.
The great celebration
of all us losers of loves bygone
sipping the juju juice,
making fun of all our ghosts
let out for a day.



Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Whether Weather

It has been eight months since I began this Poetry Daily. If I keep it up for another month will I have a book? I am amazed that I have been able to write and post every day (once or twice I was  late because our internet connection was interrupted when the generator up at Corry Mountain ran out. This is rural broadband. When the electricity cuts out, so does the wifi. Our cell/mobile signals are pretty feeble so I keep my smartphone inintelligent.) I have managed it juggling workshop prep and classroom time, migraine headaches and family bereavements. Not to mention the soap opera and tragedy of the daily world news. I do consider stopping from time to time. But it is rather fearful to contemplate what would my morning routine be like without poetry practice. I consider that I could just keep it up and not post. But the posting bit has been an important component of keeping me honest. And at it. Would I be as disciplined without it. 

But I do need to carve out some editing    time. These poems are written fast and furious. They could be made better with time and judicious changes or cuts or additions. For that I need time, which in 2019 has been a bit of an acrobatic act. I have made a promise to complete a poetry collection manuscript by the year’s end. Half the year is nearly gone already! I do realise that I need to come to some decision whether or not the Poetry Daily may need to become a Weekly to allow me the thinking time to pull that off. 

But I digress from the Poetry Daily for this Monday. The new poetey form tried out this morning comes from France, although John Keats dabbled with it. The dizain is a 10 x 10 poem – ten lines of ten syllables each. It has a ababbccdcd rhyme scheme. The subject is the eternal conversation topic, the weather. Those of us who live in the British Isles never tire of. I once was walking down the main street of Drumshambo during a St. Swithin’s curse of a rainy spell. I met a stranger, “Desperate weather!” She shouted it against the torrent. All I could respond was, “Aye!” To ensure a fine day for our wedding in a marque three years ago I adopted the local custom of putting out an Infant of Prague statue. In a summer that had been lacklustre we had the most brilliant sunny day. Oh weather gods, how kind! 

The Weather

We never cease to talk about weather.

How we have four seasons all in one day.

That it is wise, don’t you think, to tether

the lawn furniture. It’s Force 5. But, hey!

I suppose it gives a party cachet

carrying on come what May, despite flood

or hurricane or ankle deep mud.

Weather builds character, resiliance!

Plans lamented. Visitors stranded.

We live in hope. The weather laughs at us.
Copyright 2019 Bee Smith

The End of Things

This week I have tackled a new poetry form each day. The Poetry Daily is an elegy today, which I don’t think I have ever written before. Although it might have been a NaPoWriMo challenge two years ago… The weather here is very heavy and this full moon has been characterised by another WordPress blogger, Mary Pat Lynch (Rising Moon Astrology) as “Dark Matter.”  The world news is far from jolly. Although it rarely is if you are Mother Earth, a child or woman these days. So if you are not in the mood for a Sorrowful Sunday, you may want to delay reading this until Mournful Monday, Mondays being more sympatico with that feeling.

The End of Things
What was it I lost?
Or left behind?
Or failed to stow
in my velvet handbag?

Who even owns this handbag?
It's so hard to know these days.
My handbag may not be
my handbag at all.

If I slit its lining carefully
might I sew in my memories?
Here are the ends of my dreams,
the solid work hewn of hope.
Here I can hide my destroyed faith.
My despair is in there, too.
More than a little love.

But still!
I have my lovely velvet handbag.
Even though
it is hard to know
who owns it
and its contents
any more
or who really cares
except me
and my velvet handbag.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Insects

Insects are our planet’s friends. Even if they may be really annoying to us. We are fairly ignorant of how these smallest creatures figure in the whole trophic cascade. Take them out with a pesticide and we don’t really know how unbalanced things can become. Because nature will always fill a vacuum. Something will move in for sure. This morning my poetry practice poetry form random pick comes from Wales. It is the Clogyrnach. Sorry! I have no clue how that should be pronounced! The poetry form runs to a six line stanza. Or it can be a five liner if you run the final two together; apparently, this is allowed. The syllabic scheme is 8-8-5-5-3-3. (or 8-8-5-5-6.) The general rhyme scheme is ab etc. You get the idea! The subject of poetry practice this morning is…the midge. Scotland has them, but we only saw may flies on our visit. But they are out in force now here in West Cavan. As I found this morning. If you want to read more poems on insects you can find them in Carol Ann Duffy’s poet laureate valedictory project published in the Guardian Review some weeks ago. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/27/into-thin-air-carol-ann-duffy-presents-poems-about-our-vanishing-insect-world
To a Midge

The window left open for the cats
allowed ingress to the dreaded...
MIDGE!  It came and sat
on an eyebrow's thread
and made my face its bed.

This morning it was lumps and bumps
(like an inflattable mattress
not overall plump)
Itching is endless.
Just stop with the mug dump!

 
 Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved. 
Featured image Photo by Neenu Vimalkumar on Unsplash

Don’t Frack With The Fairies

It has been ten years since we were first alerted to the fact that this pristine area of the world, a large part of which has the UNESCO recognition for its unique international significance for its natural, as well as built, heritage was under threat from fracking. A good chunk of the what geologists call the Lough Allen Basin lies within the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. It is an international, cross-border venture. As was the initial campaign to prevent drilling in Fermanagh, in Boho back in 2014. At the eleventh hour it was discovered no planning application had ever been made on the quarry drill site. Mark Durkin, the Northern Ireland Secretary of the Environment, ordered that drilling was not possible.

In the meantime, in the Republic of Ireland, activists put through the first ever private member’s bill to ban fracking in the Republic. Just last week the Republic of Ireland was the second nation in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. Much research concludes that the fracking process is catastrophic to the environment. Not only that. Our natural gas isn’t even that good quality.

This week Fermanagh’s newspaper The Impartial Reporter, announced that Tamboran, the corporation vanquished five years ago, has begun the planning application process to frack 600 square kilometers of southwest Fermanagh.https://www.impartialreporter.com/news/17631493.fracking-licence-to-cover-over-600-square-kilometers-of-fermanagh/

This application covers miles of boundary with the Republic. If the whole Brexit worry over the border wasn’t enough, now we have to worry about genocide by enviromentocide. This move feels provocative to me, coming at this time while the Brexit negotiations grind on and the wrangle about how to handle the contentious boundary.

But be in no doubt. Fracking has a well-documented adverse effect on public health, and a negative impact on agriculture and tourism. That’s the backbone of our economy for the many and it will be destroyed. Fracking is another 1% move on destroying people in the name of profit for the very, very few.

But what was miraculous in the campaign against the frackers five years ago, is that it united the population and cut across the sectarian divide. Because everyone here loves the land. And the land herself was under attack. It is again.

So poetry practice meets agitprop today. The new poetry form I found is, appropriately, an Irish one, the treochair. It is made up of tercets, or three line stanza of 3-7-7 syllables. The first and third lines are meant to rhyme and alliteration is strongly encouraged.

Whether you are a fairy agnostic or not, be in no doubt that they helped us upset the Tamboran plan last time. We are allies in this fight.

Don't Frack With the Fairies

Fermanagh
Don't frack with the fairies!
It's a toxic formula.

Forsooth! Frack
at your peril. Don't let loose
cracking egomaniacs.

Believe you me,
Tamboran will have no luck
tampering with those tinies.

Just listen!
It's just never healthy
to snort, give out derision.

Not so wee
The Good Folk. Or the Auld Ones.
Call them as they may be.

Whatever
your position on fairies
this is a doomed endeavour.

Fermanagh
The planet needs patching up.
Join the Fairy Fianna!

Mother Earth
Needs all of us as allies
protecting purity's worth.

Frack fairies?
The truth? Their revenge will mean
apocolyspe, catastrophe.

Not just for
us, or you, or family.
Fracking is forevermore.



Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

East Meets West Poetry Mash Up

I’m trying a new to me poetry form this week. Perusing the hundred forms listed on http://www.writersdigest.com I noted haiku sonnet. That has to be the ultimate east meets west poetry mash up. I checked it out. It has fourteen lines like a sonnet, but otherwise keeps to the no rhyme, syllabic format of haiku and tanka. It sticks to the 5-7-5 for the four stanzas and then finishes off with a couplet of 7-7 syllables. Poetry practice this morning has had a bash at the mash up of weather channel meets I Ching (The Book of Changes). Which often advises that the superior man waits.

While We Wait

Air pollen sticky
A sultry silken shawn thrown
over warm shoulders

No breeze blowing, so
Still - but for bird chatter
A restlessness there

It's the itch we scratch
While we wait for the next shoe
to drop. Or something.

Weather vanes are good.
They see the way it's coming
But then. What to do?

Ancients knew that weather rules
what is inevitable


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Bob Jansen on Unsplash

Poem Tricubed

Midweek. Humpday. My last in a long series of story making  Cruinniú na nÓg (Creativity for Kids) workshops today with the nine of the  most creative kids in a tiny upland school in West Cavan. Working with them has been wholly a pleasure. With sixteen classroom hours, I have had the leisure to get to know them pretty well and have grown fond of them and their school. Each time I visit one will ask if I wrote a poem today, or its title, or what its about. Not all of these kids are naturally fluent writers. Some prefer maths. One is only nine years old. Some have admitted the brief was a bit hard. But I will say this. Whether any becomes an artist or writer is irrelevent. All are incredibly creative. They have proved that over and over.  Even when its has been hard and they felt it didn’t work every single one kept trying. They did the research. They got excited. They got down to the page. 

Can’t let the kids down. Got to face the blank page. I turned to a new short poem form I’ve never tried before called the tricube. Each line has three syllables. Each stanza has three lines. There are three stanzas. Yet another new poetry form to experiment with in poetry practice today.


3 x 3 x 3


Paper thin 

Skeletons

From the sea

How brittle

Are the shells

That we shed

What life led

Now without

So exposed?

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith